When the Cubs non-tendered Ronald Torreyes, Allen Webster, and Justin Hancock last week, the hope on our end was that the team could nevertheless get these guys to sign minor league deals – maybe beefed up, generous minor league deals – to keep them in the organization. But the thing is, when you non-tender a guy, he’s a free agent. He can do whatever he wants.
He can go to Japan to get paid:
Former #Cubs RHP Justin Hancock signing with Nippon Ham-Fighters in Japan. One-year deal with club option for a second year, source tells The Athletic.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 5, 2018
Hancock, 28, was the Cubs’ return in the Matt Szczur deal with the Padres in 2017, and he reached the big leagues this past season, flashing an upper-90s fastball. His command just wasn’t there, though, and he wound up dealing with a shoulder injury that ended his season in June. I have no visibility to his current health or recovery.
In any case, good luck to Hancock in Japan, and may the Cubs find additional arms to stash at AAA and ride the up-and-down shuttle in 2019. It’s not a glamorous role, but, in the current era of aggressive bullpen deployment, it is a critically important one.